OPINION

Daylight robbery of state coffers

It seems the earth that has given way under the nation’s major road arteries has also shaken the foundations of the apparently smooth surface of our public life, exposing a labyrinth of entangled interests. Political life, with successes against terrorism, social concerns and the Cyprus issue, has been overshadowed by the emergence of an evil cloud bringing with it something that had formerly been concealed deep below the surface: intricate relations between officials, advisers and cadres, extortionists, the daylight robbery of the state’s coffers by means of expensive public works of doubtful quality, and all-powerful business interests that not only continue to combine transactions in public works and supplies with the media, but use the wealth gained from the former to strengthen their positions in the latter sector. The interference by (former prime ministerial adviser) Giorgos Pantayias in the work of the Finance Ministry police (SDOE), after which he was forced to resign, has sparked many different allegations which do not appear to have come as a surprise to the prime minister’s office. The opening of the latest section of the Attiki Odos has coincided with the revelation that the cost of constructing the project was triple the original budget. Ground subsidence underneath the country’s road network has confirmed that costs are by no means the only scandal. Shoddy work appears to be the rule of the day. A preliminary investigation into allegations of extortion has given the impression that the phenomenon had become an established means of acquiring wealth by certain media figures. The clash between Avriani daily and ALTEC has further strengthened this impression, and has also reminded us that the powers that be in the economy and the press are unconcerned by any conflict of interests. The most prominent figure in the construction sector went a step further and presented his views to the media, obviously in the expectation that he would thereby get even more work. Finally, the crash of yet another ambulance service (EKAB) helicopter, with the loss of more lives, has left its own tragic mark on Greece’s public life. It suddenly appears as if the dense web of undeclared relationships and subterranean corridors that determines – and suffocates – Greece’s political and economic life has reached breaking point.